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Saudi Arabia’s booming defense industry: Entering the global stage (sponsored)

6th September 2021 - 11:15 GMT | by Industry Spotlight

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Saudi Arabia continues to stand as one of the most exciting investment opportunities for global defense and technology companies. As a result of national aspirations to diversify the local economy, Saudi Arabia plans to spend half its military budget within the Kingdom by the end of the decade.

This article is brought to you by World Defense Show.

Through efforts to create economic and employment opportunities for citizens in high-tech sectors such as defense, Saudi Arabia’s growing inward investment is complemented by a series of measures to significantly liberalize the private sector and make it easier for international companies to do business locally. Recently, Saudi’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) announced that the number of companies licensed to operate in the Kingdom increased by 41% as of June 2021. Local companies received 85% of these licenses, demonstrating the significant progress in Saudi’s drive to boost its home-grown defense capabilities.

GAMI’s efforts to enhance transparency, ease the licensing process and permit 100% foreign ownership in the sector have started to yield positive results. Now, both local and international investors are realizing the enormous opportunities that the Kingdom’s military sector offers. By launching the Military Industry Marketplace (MIM), GAMI has unveiled even greater opportunities throughout the local supply chain, enabling investors to gain access to and connect with registered companies – from maintenance, repair, and overhaul to defense electronics, platforms and structural components.

Bringing these opportunities to the global stage is GAMI’s World Defense Show. Founded by the Authority, the inaugural event is the first of its kind to focus on all five domains of defense – land, air, sea, security and space – with an emphasis on integration, interoperability and innovation. Those attending will be able to engage with the organization behind the show as well as the entire Saudi defense ecosystem at a purpose-built venue on the outskirts of the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. The show serves to build a bridge between the Kingdom’s defense sector and the global defense industry, introducing stakeholders to opportunities at every level of the Kingdom’s expanding value chains. 

Companies both large and small, from start-ups and SMEs to Primes and OEMs, continue to snap up stands at the exhibition, which will run from 6th-9th March 2022. International exhibitors signed up so far include Embraer, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, NORINCO and Rolls Royce, while local entities including GAMI, strategic partner Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), Ministry of Defense, Ministry of National Guard and Presidency of State Security will be among those featured.

In addition to the key VIPs and global industry figures on the event’s invitation list, Saudi Arabia’s leadership, international military delegations, and prominent defense decision-makers will take part in World Defense Show’s tailored Meet the Buyer and Delegation programs – set to promote collaboration and business opportunities across all domains. Other programs on offer include Investor-Investee Program, Meet the KSA Government Program, and an interactive Industry 4.0 Hub. 

Saudi Arabia connects three continents, making it a true gateway between the East and West. The Kingdom’s geographic accessibility has positioned it as a key player in the global supply chain, and consequently, a high-potential hub for defense trade and innovation. Biennially, World Defense Show will aim to serve as the optimal meeting environment and marketplace for the international defense community.

World Defense Show will debut under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman and be held from 6-9 March 2022 in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s key leadership, international delegations and prominent industry decision-makers from around the world. To learn more about the show, click here.

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